Medicare and Social Security put in jeopardy by GOP negligence

Every candidate for Congress needs to educate themselves on this pronto:

Medicare will run out of money sooner than expected, and Social Security’s financial problems can’t be ignored either, the government said Tuesday in a sobering checkup on programs vital to the middle class. The report from program trustees says Medicare will become insolvent in 2026 — three years earlier than previously forecast. Its giant trust fund for inpatient care won’t be able to fully cover projected medical bills starting at that point. The report says Social Security will become insolvent in 2034 — no change from the projection last year.

The warning serves as a reminder of major issues left to languish while Washington plunges deeper into partisan strife. Because of the deterioration in Medicare’s finances, officials said the Trump administration will be required by law to send Congress a plan next year to address the problems, after the president’s budget is submitted.

That last part is more worrying than the timeline that precedes it. The Trump administration couldn't solve a crossword puzzle from a Highlights magazine, much less something this complex. But it's not just the administration that poses a threat to these programs; last October, Congressional Republicans set out their budget goals for the coming decade, which included cutting $488 Billion (that's right) from Medicare. Those cuts will come directly out of the pockets of retirees who will have to make up the difference in what is "not" paid to hospitals and doctors. And that is on top of the cuts likely to occur due to the Baby Boomer problem:

For Medicare, insolvency would mean that hospitals, nursing homes and other providers of medical care would be paid only part of their agreed-upon fees.

Medicare is widely seen as a more difficult problem that goes beyond the growing number of baby boomers retiring. It’s also the unpredictability of health care costs, which can be jolted by high-priced breakthrough cures, and which regularly outpace the overall rate of economic growth.

The Cabinet secretaries for Treasury, Health and Human Services, and Labor usually participate in the annual release of the report, along with the Social Security commissioner, and take questions from reporters. None of those top officials was present Tuesday; an aide cited scheduling conflicts.

The four top officials serve as the Social Security and Medicare trustees, along with two independent trustees who are supposed to represent the public. The public trustees are usually more candid, but those posts remain unfilled.

Bolding mine, because this is becoming a hallmark of the Trump Presidency. The narcissist-in-chief simply can't grasp the importance of properly staffing agencies and advisory bodies, because he really doesn't understand how large organizations function. Calling him "incompetent" is somehow lacking in portraying the actual danger he poses, because there are usually competent people around the average incompetent, fixing things before they get out of hand. But when you combine "incompetent" with the inability and lack of desire to delegate, there's no fixing going on, just breaking shit left and right.

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